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Can't see all my external links on a task. It just shows ..... RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello

    I am using MS Project 2007 professional.

    For some reason I am unable to see all my external links when I click on the successor field of the task. It shows around 4 or 5 links and than .....

    When I go to delete the other links on the successor field it still will not show me  links.....It only shows ......

    I also tried to go to TOOLS and then LINKS BETWEEN PROJECTS and it only lists one link in the successor.

    How can I see all my external links in a field?

    Thanks

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 2:21 PM

Answers

  • Hotmail1,

    I'd like to clarify something about the server environment. Computer systems in most companies are connected via a Wide Area Network (WAN) and/or a Local Area Network (LAN) to allow information sharing across the company. The network contains servers that can be accessed in whole or in part by various organizations in the company. These servers most likely appear as just another drive on employee desktop PCs. When I talked about storing your files on a common server, I was referring to the above.

    With regard to using straight Save and Save As, no you do not need to use Save immediately every time you open a file. As noted in the description of method 1 in FAQ 43, using Save immediately after opening is primarily to defragment the file. Since fragmentation occurs over a period of time it is not necessary to use method 1 every time a file is accessed. As a matter of fact, if things are working normally, a user may never need to use method 1.

    By the way, method 4 is more encompassing in cleaning up a file than method 1 since it effectively does a mass copy of the original file data to a new file.

    For as long as I can remember I've always used Save As with all my files, not just Project. So yes, I recommend you use Save As every time you save changes to a file.

    John

    Monday, May 16, 2011 3:13 PM

All replies

  • Hotmail1,

    My my, you are having some problem with links.

    From your description of the current problem it sounds like your link structure is corrupt. Not too surprising since I recall you said in previous posts that you have made and broken links multiple times.

    A few questions.

    1. Are all your linked files, including the master, on the same drive and in the same folder?

    2. When you don't see all the successors are you looking at the master file or at one of the subproject files?

    3. With a subproject as the active project, do your see 4 or 5 ghost tasks associated with the task of interest?

    4. At either the master or individual subproject level what does the Network Diagram show with regard to successors?

    John

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 4:24 PM
  • John

    I have actually had this issue in regards to seeing everything when the predecessors or successors are to many without links. It's a matter of having to many characters in that field. That I know for sure. I was just looking for a way to tell what was in there and you gave that to me with the ghost tasks. 

    Please see responses..........

    A few questions.

    1. Are all your linked files, including the master, on the same drive and in the same folder? Yes

    2. When you don't see all the successors are you looking at the master file or at one of the subproject files? Doesn't matter the result is the same

    3. With a subproject as the active project, do your see 4 or 5 ghost tasks associated with the task of interest? Yes I do.

    4. At either the master or individual subproject level what does the Network Diagram show with regard to successors?

    I have never pasted in links and have followed a proper linking scenario.

    The real issue is that something is causing multiple links to show up from time to time and it is puzzling. There has to be something real that is causing this to happen. 

    We are NOT re-linking those tasks at all but yet they reappear. We are following a method of using "Save as".

    It is not practical to rebuild the files.

    Thanks

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 4:53 PM
  • Hotmail1,

    Sorry, I forgot the main answer as to why you see "...." in the link string. As you already know, (probably from a previous response in this forum), the Predecessor and Successor fields will only display a total of 256 characters, beyond that you see ellipses (i.e. ...). The actual link data is in Project's database, it just isn't displayed in the Predecessor and Successor fields.

    But now I'm kind of lost. What exactly is your question? You mention something about multiple links but what about them?

    John

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 8:31 PM
  • John

    The real issue is that for some reason links are appearing twice, 3 times, 4 times, etc. to the same two tasks.

    It starts out with 1 link in schedule1 task A and schedule 2 task B. These are NOT pasted links and I have followed Dale's advice on linking tasks. I can tell you that no one touches that link but MS Project under certain circumstances will add it again and again. 

    I would like to know exactly what is causing this so I can discontinue have to deal with it. I can't seem to narrow it down to anything.

    All the links are being established the same by using the master file, selecting schedule 1 task A, schedule 2 task b and using the LINK icon.

    Thanks

     

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 12:37 PM
  • Hotmail1,

    This condition is indicative of link multiple links caused when the user "saves off" a linked file to another location (i.e. for backup purposes). With unlinked files periodically saving files to another location for backup purposes does not cause any problems. However when a file with cross-project links is saved in this manner it effectively duplicates the link structure. Eventually this leads to file corruption.

    Another possibility is link structure corruption caused by multiple making and breaking links. As I recall you mentioned in previous posts that when you were having trouble you broke links and re-established them. What you are seeing now might be the unfortunate result of those actions.

    Either way some type of file re-structuring is necessary. I know you said it wasn't practical to rebuild the files but in my opinion, that is the only viable way you will get things cleaned up and working smoothly. The other option is to try living with the issue and hope it doesn't get worse but my guess is, it will.

    John

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:21 PM
  • John

    We are using MS Project 2007 Professional and there are 30 sub projects inserted into this Master Project.

    There are 4 0f us maintaining this and here is how we do it.

    1. Locate all 30 files including the Master in the C root drive and we all call it the same name. We do pass the files around by way of a thumb drive but we all update the files in the  same name structure. We tried using Sharepoint but it took a half hour to pull all the files out when we wanted them all.

    A couple times a day we have to update perhaps 10 files all at once and we use the Master file open to do that.

    Pete - Updates sub project 1, 3, 5 in their root drive named C:Master files. The actual update of Project 1,3, or 5 occurs in the directory where all 30 files are located. We do not locate the file in any other directory to make changes.

    Sam - Updates sub project 2, 4, 6 in their C root drive named C:Master files. Same scenario as Pete.

    I have the same set of 30 files and when I get an update of Project 1,3,5 I will take those and copy those files with the update into my C root drive names C:Master files.

    We have yet to find an effective way to all update out of a same location because we don't use server.

    No one can update all 30 files with a 1.5 million hour plan so we are forced into doing this.

    Is there a suggested way for us to do our work and have these external links without causing these issues?

    Thanks

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:19 PM
  • Hotmail1,

    In my opinion there's too much passing files around and THAT is the root of the problem. By doing it the way you are, links are being duplicated right and left, hence the uncertain/unstable performance. You do NOT need Project Server to have all files and the master located in a single folder in a shared drive such that you, Pete and Sam all have read/write access. Note that only one of you can open and edit any given file at any given time. Note, this method of Project file sharing goes back to a time long before Project Server even existed. 

    My suggestion, QUIT passing the files around! Get them on a shared server and leave them there. You don't have to mess with Sharepoint because each of you will be able to edit their respective files directly. Do NOT save off any files to your local drive.

    If for some reason you cannot use a shared server, then put all the files on one PC and pass that PC around but DO NOT copy files.

    That's what you need to do to solve your problem. But, as I mentioned before, it sounds like the link structure of your files is already corrupt and you need to address that by re-building. Not a fun process but necessary given what you have.

    Sorry I can't give you a simple magic bullet to make the problem go away.

    John

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:10 PM
  • John

    For some reason I'm not sure I am understanding the shared server. When we were using sharepoint we used the checkout feature. the issue with that is it placed only that 1 file in a directory and NOT all the files. I thought we dodn't want to do that so i am NOT sure how to operate in that environment. Could you provide guidance such as should we use the checkout feature, etc.? 

     

    Also, what are the specific steps to re-build a file

    Thanks

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:29 PM
  • Hotmail1,

    I am not familiar with Sharepoint, I'm falling back on a process we used in a basically identical situation many years ago. Our company had a shared server that was accessible to all users for a particular program. The server showed up as a remote drive from our desktop PCs. Read/write access to that server and various folders on it was administered by our IT department. All of our Project files were stored on that server. We had over 70 linked files and a master. Each cost account manager accessed their particular Project file right on the server (no checkout or any other intermediate access). I and a few others had access to all files. Should be pretty straightforward.

    Theoretically this will also work if the "remote server" is a flash drive that is ferried from one user to another but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES let users copy from the flash drive to their local drive. Always work with the files directly on the remote drive.

    As far as re-building your files, it's a little tough to say without actually seeing what you have but this is basically what I would do.

    1. Designate a couple extra text fields to capture all cross-project link data. One field captures the source task ID, the second field captures the file name and task ID of the destination. For example, let's say Task 5 in File A is the predecessor to Task 10 in File B. In File A put "5" in Text1 and "File B-10" in Text2. If there are multiple successors, add those to the text string in Text2. This process can either be done manually or automated with VBA. I'd use the latter myself.

    2. Once all the link data is captured in all files, break all cross-project links and use Save As on all files. This should clear all link fragments but it might be worthwhile to use Method 4 of FAQ 43, (http://www.mvps.org/project/faqs.htm), to make sure everything is reset.

    3. Build a new dynamic master and use the stored link data to re-establish all cross-project links. I would periodically use Save As on both source and destination files so you don't lose a lot of invested effort on relinking if something decides to crash.

    4. Once all links are re-established, you can delete the link data stored in the text fields.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 11:01 PM
  • John

    Thank you!

    When you say break all project links. I have been highlighting the link in the predecessor or successor and using the delete key. I then went ahead and did a "Save as" to clear anything. I then established the links again

    Is this an appropriate way to Break the cross-project links. 

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 11:17 PM
  • John

    1. Besides this message that I sent you....I was wondering why you were saying to create a new Master file. For the most part it's just 30 inserts of the 30 sub projects

     

    2. When you say break all project links. I have been highlighting the link in the predecessor or successor and using the delete key. I then went ahead and did a "Save as" to clear anything. I then established the links again

    Is this an appropriate way to Break the cross-project links. 

    Thank you!

    Monday, May 16, 2011 1:11 AM
  • Hotmail1,

    In a dynamic master with inter-project links there are actually two link structures. One that comprises the links from the master to the subprojects and one that comprises the inter-project links. To give you the best chance for cleaning up and recovering your files I suggested you build a new master. That coupled with re-building inter-project links should give you a new clean structure.

    Is deleting links directly from the predecessor string the best way to break links? No. You should really use Tools/Links between Projects for each of the 30 subprojects. Select each link and use the "delete link" button. Then Save As both the source and destination files. However, since you have apparently already done it the other way (i.e. selectively deleting the predecessor string), go ahead, hope for the best, and you may just be okay.

    It kind of sounds like you broke and then re-established each link right away. To get a really clean re-build you should delete ALL inter-project links, Save As and use method 4. Then start over by re-establishing the link structure on the new clean files. Cutting corners may not achieve the desired results.

    John

    Monday, May 16, 2011 4:25 AM
  • John

    When we start using this server environment............

    In regards to SAVE and SAVE AS............

    Should we always use SAVE when we first open a file before making any edits and than SAVE AS when we close it? Is that the recommended method?

    Thanks 

    Monday, May 16, 2011 12:20 PM
  • Hotmail1,

    I'd like to clarify something about the server environment. Computer systems in most companies are connected via a Wide Area Network (WAN) and/or a Local Area Network (LAN) to allow information sharing across the company. The network contains servers that can be accessed in whole or in part by various organizations in the company. These servers most likely appear as just another drive on employee desktop PCs. When I talked about storing your files on a common server, I was referring to the above.

    With regard to using straight Save and Save As, no you do not need to use Save immediately every time you open a file. As noted in the description of method 1 in FAQ 43, using Save immediately after opening is primarily to defragment the file. Since fragmentation occurs over a period of time it is not necessary to use method 1 every time a file is accessed. As a matter of fact, if things are working normally, a user may never need to use method 1.

    By the way, method 4 is more encompassing in cleaning up a file than method 1 since it effectively does a mass copy of the original file data to a new file.

    For as long as I can remember I've always used Save As with all my files, not just Project. So yes, I recommend you use Save As every time you save changes to a file.

    John

    Monday, May 16, 2011 3:13 PM